Friday, July 25, 2014

I finally got my own work shirts

I think I've said this before, but this time I think I actually got shirts for work that are mine. I was originally given two that had the wrong facility name on them, and they were larges, which were huuuuuge on me. Then I got what I thought were the shirts I ordered, but they had the generic FWS embroidery rather than my specific location. Well today I received four shirts that are my size and they have the correct facility name embroidered on them. The only problem is... I don't think they're the shirts I ordered at all. I could be wrong, but I think I would remember if I ordered two-tone shirts (which these all are). I could have sworn they were all plain colors. But... this is probably as good as it's going to get for me. They are at least nice shirts, even if I don't like the colors. And they're mine.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Jason, windjam, music on main = home

This past Saturday we made a quick trip back home to Illinois. Sheffield was having their annual 'Music On Main' celebration. They block off main street and have food, drinks, music, and games for people of all ages. There was quite the crowd, as there were several class reunions being held that same night. It was fun.

Not like that wasn't enough going on, but Brothers Pub - perfectly located right at the end of Main Street - was having a special performance that night as well. Sheffield's own, Jason Ringenberg, played there. Jason is known as the front man for the band Jason & the Scorchers. He also performs solo, as well as impersonating his "twin" brother Farmer Jason from time to time. It was a packed house at Brothers all night long. And good to see.

Jason took the stage with his acoustic guitar at 10 pm. He did a solo set, as well as this rousing rendition of the Farmer Jason song, 'The Tractor Goes Chug, Chug, Chug.' I'm not even sure how long he played, but it was nice for all his hometown friends to finally get to see him play Eventually the house band - Windjam - backed Jason up and they did a set of Jason & the Scorchers songs. Then Windjam ended the evening doing their own wonderful blues music.

I saw sooooo many old friends from high school and from when we used to live here. It really was an awesome time. Even daughter Carrie was brave enough to leave her three young-uns with my parents for a few hours so she could take in the festivities.

I did get a chance to chat with Jason some before the show, and then again as the night/morning wore down we sat on the bench on main street and reminisced and talked about kids and church and farming and such. He is one swell guy. As are Mike & Danny, who own Brothers. And I was a proud uncle as Dr. Tim - one of the organizers of Music On Main - was one of the last people to leave after cleaning up. How many town doctors put in free time and effort to help the town they work in and are from? It was a great night to be in Sheffield.

As far as logistics and our family... Carrie and the kids (Anna, Bennett and Caleb) picked Jane up Friday evening and drove to my parents house in Drew Carrie's van. I drove out by myself Saturday morning. Drew had to work. Then I turned around and came home Sunday after lunch, and the girls and the kids came back Monday. I guess poor little Caleb cried almost the entire drive there and back. Other than that, though, it was a great time. Here are a few random pics from Saturday night.

Daughter Carrie and Jason

Jason's mom (on left), Wink and Darlene

Jason Ringenberg

Jason & Windjam (Danny, Linda, and Joe - minus Mike and Lisa)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Yes, i know

I am aware that I have not been keeping up with the name of the blog. I have no excuse, but several reasons. I have been fighting a cold, cough, allergy and sinus issues. My energy is not the greatest right now. I've also taken on some additional responsibilities at work. And I was out of town this weekend. However, I think mostly I have been coming to terms with some grief/sorrow issues. I probably have not done a real good job of processing things lately, but the book I am currently reading is helping. One of the main changes I've made is trying to read every morning again. It's nice. So, one of these days I need to get around to writing about: the weekend home, my new job responsibilities, getting a raise, the book I'm reading, and... I've been thinking about concentrating my writing more on the grief process I've been going through for the past year. I've not been allowed to share much about it (by the leaders of my former church), but I have learned a great deal. I'm finally starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel (ever so faintly). It will probably take a lot of fumbled attempts to get it across. So please be patient, my friends. I still value this blog, but the picture is big and we've got a lot of time.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Mowing. tired

I mowed the lawn after work today. It was pretty high in the back so I raised it to the highest setting again.

I was plenty tired too. I didnt feel very good today, and even though I didn't have a lot of customers in today, I was pretty busy. My duties have been expanded to include the office buildings. We are currently in the process of moving two office tenants in building three to building two. The rest have moved out of three and we are converting it to storage units. Which is what we just got done doing with building one. So I had a lot of conversations and phone calls today as the liaison between the owners, office tenants, and construction workers. It was tiring, but it beats bouncing a tennis ball against the wall.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bug-bombed the garage

I set off a Hot Shot No-Mess Fogger (with odor neutralizer) in the garage yesterday. Our house isn't too bad, but we seem to have a lot of gnats and spiders in the garage. I figured it was worth a try. I thought about doing two foggers at the same time, but there was a warning against that. So I tried one of the three that came in the pack. I figure if it didn't work, I can still use the other two at the same time. The garage is a slightly larger area than what one fogger should cover. I just set it off in the middle of the room when I left for work. It was shut up all day, then we opened both doors when we got home last night to air it out. We'll see.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cheap trick at trf

M'Lady and I had the pleasure of seeing Cheap Trick open the 2014 Three Rivers Festival at Headwaters Park in Fort Wayne last night. What an awesome time! I was never a huge Cheap Trick fan - never owned any of their music - but I liked them alright. They are one of those bands that is much better live than just listening to their music (imho). You also realize that even though you might not be able to name too many of their songs, you recognize them all as soon as they start playing.

I'm surprised I wasn't more of a fan of theirs. They hail from Rockford, Illinois - just a mere 90 minutes from where I grew up and lived most of my life. They also started playing and touring during my high school years. Perhaps I was already set in my musical ways, or maybe I just wasn't paying attention. Anyway, it was nice to see that Robin Zander, Rick Nielson, and Tom Petersson were still together. They may be a bit older, but boy do they still know how to put on a show! It was well worth the $25 day-of-show ticket price.

There was also a great crowd there. Perhaps the largest crowd I've seen at the park in my years here. I was glad to see it. We arrived at maybe 7 o'clock or so and there wasn't an empty chair to be found anywhere, and standing room was even somewhat limited. We hung out in the alleyway that led to the porta-potties for the opening bands (Orange Opera & Unlikely Alibi). We also took several walkabouts through the grounds under and just outside the pavilion. We finally settled on leaning against a gate section on the south side of the stage. It is a favorite spot of mine. You are behind the speakers (to try to save what's left of my hearing), and you get to see all the behind-the-stage happenings. I think it's interesting to see how different musicians warm up or prepare to take the stage. You also get to see them interact with other band members, roadies, and workers.

I suppose they played most of their hits. Which was nice of them. Can you imagine going to work every day for the last 30+ years and doing the same thing... and looking like you're enjoying yourself!! But they did. It was a great show. I had a blast not only listening to the music and watching their performance, but I thought the crowd was great too! I love people-watching, and there were plenty of characters to put a smile on my face last night.

We did run into a few people we knew. We saw Amish John and the Sizzler (Mike). We chatted with them for awhile. We hadn't seen them in a long time and it was good to visit. We also saw Bob & Leta from our old church. We chatted briefly, but not long once they mentioned church.

I could probably write about the experience for awhile, but that's probably enough. A very fun night, a great way to kick off the festival, and I'm glad Fort Wayne supported them bringing in a 'name' band to headline. Very nice.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Books and bookshelves

So I had been thinking about getting another long board and some cinder blocks to add to the bookshelf along the west wall in the basement. My books don't all fit on it (or the other three bookshelves we have). Then it occurred to me.... maybe I just need to get rid of some books. I probably don't need a lot of them, but they're hard to part with.

Speaking of books... I ordered a book the other day. It seems like it's been ages since I got a new book. I don't read at all. I tried reading David Platt's "Follow Me," but... I just kind of lost interest. I'm sure it's a good book and all, I just had a hard time getting into it.

However, Scot McKnight put up a thing on his Facebook about J.R. Brigg's new book, 'Fail: Finding Hope and Grace in the Midst of Ministry Failure.' It struck a chord, because... I am a ministry failure. Probably not forever, but right now I am. It doesn't matter if it was my fault or someone else's. That just where I am. I could try to ignore it, avoid it, or deny it... so I thought maybe I would read J.R.'s book. I checked how long it was - and it's only like 200 pages. I think maybe I can handle that. Maybe.

So... we'll see. I'm hoping it will be waiting for me when I get home.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

I forgot how... or, stage fright

I desperately need to start running again. Not only to get back in shape, but for my mind as much as my body. But it's like I don't even know how to start. I can't remember how to do it. I actually think I walk different now (since the plantar fasciitis).

Plus... I have to admit that I'm kind of scared. I'm scared it will be discouraging. I'm scared of another injury. I'm scared that I will give up.

That seems to apply to a lot of things anymore. I got asked to do a wedding recently, and I really wanted to do it... But I just couldn't. I can't imagine speaking in front of a group of people again. I don't feel like I can speak for God, or about God.

The same goes for preaching, or speaking in general. I just can't imagine it.

I suppose it's only natural though. This is kind of who I used to be. Before. Before any of it.

But to be "running" from running... Ugh. I dunno. Life is a funny thing.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

The wall

I had kind of forgotten about the words painted on the living room wall of the Exodus House until Jane took these pics the other day. Good, good stuff. [I think if you click on the pic it will enlarge. maybe]

The left side.

The right side.

The whole thing.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Moving isaac & ricci to atlanta

We helped son Isaac and his bride Ricci to Atlanta, GA this past week. Carrie took Jane and me down to Anderson Tuesday night so we could drive one of Isaac's cars down and then fly home. The guys from the Exodus House had already loaded the Uhaul with all their belongings, so the two of us spent the night at the Anderson Hampton Inn (which was really nice). Carrie said her goodbye's and headed back to Fort Wayne. Then Wednesday, July 5th was moving day.

We arrived at the Exodus House around 8, and after loading up a few extra items, it was time to leave. Stevo was there, and the five of us had a time of prayer. It was the first time I'd really felt like praying as a group in a long time. All of a sudden things got a bit emotional and then we all got teary-eyed and said our good-byes. Stevo and Isaac had started the House four years ago, and they've been through quite a bit together. It was a little sad to see this phase of life come to a close. They are good guys, but the House is in good shape and I'm sure Isaac's replacement (Randy) will do well.

We finally pulled out around 8:40 am with Ricci leading the way in the Focus (and Crosby the dog in the back seat under the influence of sleeping aids). Isaac was in the middle with the Uhaul because he was the only one that didn't have a GPS-capable phone in his vehicle. Jane and I brought up the rear in the Subaru. We made our way to I-69 South and took that to I-465 in Indy, then we caught I-65 south of Indy and took that through Indiana, Kentucy, and into Nashville, TN. I think we caught I-24 in Nashville and took it to I-75 which took us to Atlanta. If I remember correctly we only stopped three times (or maybe four) for gas. There was a little road construction, and we got caught in rush-hour traffic in Chattanooga, but somehow we all managed to stay together for the whole trip. On one of those 6% inclines in Tennessee the Uhaul started smoking as we were chugging uphill. We pulled off at a rest area and a trucker told us what was wrong and just to let it cool off. It was fine after that. We finally got to Atlanta and had to take I-275 (?) from the Northwest side to the Northeast side. All in all it was a good trip, but it did take us a little longer to get there than we anticipated. Eleven hours of staring at the back of a Uhaul without ever using cruise control was a little tiring, but I didn't really feel too bad.

The house they are renting is in the suburb of Stone Mountain. It is less than ten miles off the interstate (do they call it the Loop, or Belt?), but it seemed we wound around and around. Anyway, we finally arrived at their house on Ellis Street around 7:30 pm or so. We had to do a little maneuvering to get the truck and both cars in the driveway, but we managed. We were glad the electricity was on. We unloaded some things Wednesday night and it was hot, hot, hot. I worked up quite a sweat. The biggest thing we did that night was CLEAN though. The house was a bit dirty. The fridge, sinks, tub, and toilet were especially dirty. The toilet seat was actually black, but Jane managed to get it a fairly clean white again. After doing all we could for the night, Jane and I then headed to our Super 8 hotel in Decatur. It was about 10-15 minutes away. I don't know if we could have found it without GPS on Jane's phone. It wasn't a 'super' hotel, but it had a bed and it was about as cheap as we could find. It ended up being located in a nice area too. Decatur is a growing burb with lots to do. Not that we saw anything Wednesday night, as we passed out sweaty and gross.

Thursday we got up and headed back to Isaac's. We cleaned some more, then unloaded the truck. It didn't go too bad. The heaviest things were the two couches and the motorcycle. My back was a little sore, but not as bad as I thought it might be since I'm so out of shape. So we got the kitchen, dining room and living room looking pretty good, then we all went to downtown Decatur for supper and kind of walked around. It's a neat little place.

Friday we slept in and Isaac and Ricci came and picked us up at our hotel. We went for breakfast/lunch in Decatur, then walked through the Emory campus where Isaac will go to school. It is a pretty nice school. After that we drove over to where Ricci will be teaching.
Hess Academy is located in a Presbyterian Church and Ricci describes it as sort of a "hippy grade school." I think that's great. After that we drove around and then just went to their house for supper. Isaac cooked brats on the grill and we just visited the rest of the night until they took us back to our hotel - which happened to be right about when everyone's 4th of July fireworks were getting done, so there was a little traffic. Another good day.

Saturday we flew back home. We drove from our hotel and got to Isaac and Ricci's around 8 am. They then took us to the Atlanta airport - which is on the Southwest side of town. It only took about 30 minutes as there wasn't much traffic at that time of day. So they dropped us off and we said our goodbyes. We felt much better about the situation when we left than when we arrived. We were a little concerned at first because the house was so dirty, plus there didn't seem to be a lot of white people in the neighborhood where their house is. It's not a 'bad' neighborhood though, and after helping them get settled a little I think it will be a nice place. I'm sure there will be a period of adjustment - they are used to being around a lot of friends all the time - but it will probably be good for them to have some alone time together, and I imagine before long they will have a whole new group of friends.

So... Jane and I flew out of Atlanta around 10 am Saturday. I actually like the Atlanta airport - now that I am familiar with the 'plain train.' It was a smallish plain, and the stewardess actually stopped me and had me show the pilots my t-shirt. I wore my Bob Ross shirt that says, "No mistakes - just happy accidents." We had to fly into Chicago O'Hare, and had a three hour layover there. We got lunch and just hung around - and only had one gate change - and finally flew out of there back to Fort Wayne. Carrie and Anna picked us up around 4 pm. They were all fairly good flights but I will be glad when we can get direct flights from FW to Atlanta. Then it will only be a 2-hour trip.

We were a little tired Saturday night and Sunday morning. I'm glad we came back on Saturday so I could have a day to recoup before starting work again today (Jane has Monday off this week). Now it's back to the ol' grind. I am really glad we were able to help move the kids down there. Crosby and I even bonded a little. I look forward to making a few trips down south over the next few years. It should be quite an adventure. Here are a few random pics...

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Mowed and turf builder with summerguard

I mowed the lawn this afternoon. Once again on the second to highest setting.

I also applied Scotts Turf Builder with SummerGuard. It feeds the lawn and is supposed to control bugs. We'll see. It is to be applied on a dry lawn, and then to be watered. I am hoping that it rains tonight. It looks like it's going too, but we may be in that season where it is only going to look like rain but never does. I got one small bag, and have just a little left in the spreader. I may see if Drew wants it for their back yard.

It seems we are passing from the grass looking nice and green to when it is starting to brown. Argh. I like the green look. Oh well.

Saturday, July 05, 2014


A couple weeks ago I had several random conversations with some interesting people. First, a guy came in to work who runs the downtown Salvation Army rehab program. He is from Australia, so he has a really cool accent. We chatted for a bit about ministry (he used to work as a pastor in a church) and about the work he does now - as well as what Isaac has been doing. It was a nice chat, and he is a super nice guy. He commented that working with addicts is much more fulfilling than working in your typical church setting. Mostly because addicts know they need help - and want it. Many church folk are unaware, or afraid to admit it.

Later that night I was downtown at the library listening to the free music they offer every Saturday night. I was just picking up food since Jane and I were babysitting the grandkids. While I was waiting for the burgers to cook (and, yes, I had a couple beers) I was standing in the back where a group of homeless folk usually gather. I was just standing there minding my business and this young-ish guy gets up and just starts talking to me. He said he used to have a respectable job tending bar at CS3. He noted how he used to wear a shirt and tie and whatnot. Said he'd just got out of jail, and he was probably going to head out to California. He told me he would either hitchhike or jump trains. I have no idea if any of it was true, but I thought it interesting that he picked me out of all the people there and just sort of blurted things out. I just had on gym shorts and a white t-shirt, so I was pretty poorly dressed myself. I dunno... It was just kinda weird, and I felt good to listen to him.

Just now thinking..... It seems a lot of church leaders talk about how we (the church) need to change how we do things - we need to go TO the people, instead of just waiting for them to come to our church programs. Yeah... I don't disagree with that. But I'm not sure many of them know what they're actually talking about. I don't know that I do either, but... I don't know. I probably shouldn't write about church stuff anymore.

Anyway, that's just some stuff.